Thursday, January 9, 2014

Speculating about NATO's Next Sec Gen

Awhile back, I suggested that Canada's Def Minister might make a suitable Secretary General of NATO as Stephen Harper needed to move him from that position but carefully so.  That cabinet shuffle has come and gone and the former MoD is now Minister of Justice.  The NATO SG spot is relevant again as German Minister of Defense Thomas de Maizière was seen as a favorite for this position. 

I pooh-poohed that idea when it came out.   Why? The timing is lousy for giving Germany the big position in NATO.  After several years of being seen as a rations consumer rather than burden bearer in Afghanistan (not entirely fair, not entirely unfair--see chapter six), Germany then made bigger waves by not participating at all in the NATO mission over and near Libya.  This was a huge deal for several reasons: Germany always participated in NATO missions to some extent; Germany was one of a few countries that had specialized in knocking out air defense systems, so its absence was felt; German crews staffed much of NATO's AWACS planes so the withdrawal made things messy for NATO; and it set a piss-poor example for the rest of NATO.  So, given the difficulties of the past few years, it makes little sense to reward Germany with the top spot.

I am pretty sure now that de Maizière's chances for NATO SG are dead or close to it.  Why? Because as he was leaving the job as Minister of Defense, he crapped all over France and the UK AND insisted that Germany had little to learn from anyone else about how to do multilateral military ops abroad.  Why piss off two of the heavy lifters in NATO (even with all of the cuts)?  This would be a bad idea if he was still seeking to get the big job.  Which means he is not. 

That is my inference.  What is yours?

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